Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teething, Risen, and Perfect Dark Redux  

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I'll have some pictures of the recent Emerald City Comicon up in the next few days, but aside from that, there’s not much to report after the hectic weekend and a baby that's still in the full-blown teething stage.

If you're a parent, I'm sure you remember how difficult this stage is, and if you haven't had kids yet, let me just say that it is (in my opinion) the absolute worst part of raising a child, hands-down. Seriously, love my baby unconditionally, but I can't wait until these teeth come in and we can get past this.

Games: For the moment I'm still spending my available free time with Risen on the 360, and I'm loving every minute of it. The more I see of the game, the more I like it, and the more I admire the work and craftsmanship that must've gone into creating it. The island the player explores is a fantastic place, crammed ridiculously full of detail and interesting locations. My lust for exploring and adventuring has been stoked to fierce heights, and I would certainly recommend Risen to anyone who enjoys the same. Although it may have a lot in common with Oblivion thematically, the pacing and tightness of Risen’s design actually remind me more of a cross between Dragon Age and Fallout 3.

(By the way, if that combination sounds good to you, I would suggest securing a copy of Risen sooner rather than later. I've already started hearing reports that the game is becoming hard to find, and based on current sales numbers, I think it's a pretty safe bet that the publisher will not be printing a second run. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Also, I've heard that this week's XBLA offering will be the N64 classic, Perfect Dark. Believe it or not, I've actually never played the game. It's been on my list of ‘classics’ to experience as part of my general critic education for several years, but my N64’s been packed away in storage for a while, and I've definitely had my hands full with more current releases. However, now that it's going to be available in a souped-up version, I'm thinking that maybe the time is right.

However, before I pony up for it, I'd love to hear feedback from any readers who have played the game and have memories of it, whether good or bad. Did you like it? Is it worthy of being called a classic? Would you say it's a must-play for anyone worth their critical salt?

Drop some knowledge on me.

What next?

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5 comments: to “ Teething, Risen, and Perfect Dark Redux


    If you are a fan of Goldeneye, then you'll likely be a fan of Perfect Dark. I've played the latest remake briefly and I was impressed. Just downloading review code now, I will give you a proper verdict later today.


    Daniel: To tell the honest truth, I'm actually not a Goldeneye fan.

    I couldn't stand the control scheme back in the day, and I've never been one for vs. multiplayer outside of fighting games. Never finished the game, although I tried to several times. It holds up even more poorly today than I remember it back then (on the N64, anyway) and I've given it up as a lost cause. One of those ‘just not for me’ things.

    Do you think PD would strike me the same way, or would the upgrade to 360 make enough of a difference?

    I'd love to hear a bit about the story and characters, BTW. Substantial and worth mentioning, or no?


    Erm, I would say that the remake may fare better in your view. Obviously the controls will be very different and it will look and move better than the N64 classic.

    In terms of story and character, I'm a fan of Joanna Dark, sexy and tongue in cheek. The story is both sensible and quirky. Overall, I think the game stands out for being a tight shooter, rather than a tour de force of story telling.

    Of course, it's hard to say how it will all translate to the remake though.


    Judging by your past comments on Goldeneye, you're really not going to be engaged by PD. The gameplay is very similar to the Bond game, but the atmosphere and intensity are significantly weaker. It does have the merit of being very balanced and challenging, though, and some of the levels are brilliant.

    The plot is solid, albeit at times a little difficult to follow, but most of the characters are bland, which detracts from the overall experience (and may just be the reason why the missions themselves feel a bit void of pathos). Avoiding too many spoilers, the plot concerns two private corporations in contact with two different alien civilisations who are at war with each other. As an agent for the corporation allied with the 'good' aliens, you're involved in a number of missions of remarkable variety to sabotage the machinations of your adversaries. The plot does take an impressive number of twists and turns, so it's gripping; I wouldn't say it holds any great artistic or dramatic merit, though, nor did it do much to advance the medium, so I don't think it's worth revisiting in its entirety.

    Personally, I think that PD stands to Goldeneye the way that Donkey Kong 64 stood to Banjo Kazooie: bigger and weightier in every way, but more dispersive, more derivative, and not nearly as charming.


    Thanks for the comments, JS!